Essential oils are wonderful. They are pure, all-natural and can benefit and support our physical, emotional & spiritual wellness in various ways. However, essential oils are extremely concentrated substances, which can cause sensitization & severe injuries if used incorrectly. It is imperative that you use essential oils responsibly, only as needed and not in excess.
You may have noticed there has been an influx in the number of people using and becoming interested in using essential oils; they are now becoming “main stream”. Which raises concerns; as people who are not properly educated in the safety and efficacy of essential oils (Certified Aromatherapists) mistakenly believe that because they are natural, they are risk-free.
Per the Fortune Business Insights report in 2018; the global market size for essential oils was 7.03 billion (USD). By 2026, the essential oils market is projected to increase to 14.60 billion (USD). Increasing popularity and interest in Holistic Health and all-natural treatments along with a mistrust in our traditional medical system is a large reason for the increased interest in and use of alternative treatments, including essential oils.
Essential oils can be beneficial for various conditions such as acne, insomnia, PMS, PTSD, pain, insomnia, anxiety, smoking cessation & relaxation. Although essential oils are all-natural substances, it does not mean they come without risk. “Natural” and “safe” are not synonymous. Essential oils are extremely concentrated; they should be used with caution & treated with respect. For example, it takes the petals of 30-50 roses to produce a single drop of Rose essential oil.
Essential oils not only smell delightful, they also encompass various therapeutic properties- they are versatile and complex. For example, one essential oil contains multiple individual constituents; some essential oils may contain over 300 different compounds! The individual constituents affect the biological activity of the oil, which contributes to the overall therapeutic properties of the essential oil. This also greatly impacts the safety of each individual oil; thus the differing safety guidelines that need to be followed for various essential oils.
Strictly following the essential oil dilution ratios and safety guidelines that have been established minimizes the risk of adverse reactions to the user. Reactions to essential oils can vary based on numerous factors including: the individual’s constitution, the essential oil chosen, dilution used, length of use and the route of administration.
Extreme caution should be exercised if using essential oils around or on children, as they are the most vulnerable to adverse reactions. It is preferred to use hydrosols on infants and toddlers. However, if essential oils are utilized, they should always be properly diluted – generally in the range of 0.5% – 2.5% (depending on the child’s age and condition). Due to children being more sensitive to the potency of essential oils and having a smaller body size; this increases the risks of using essential oils on children. When working with children, certain essential oils should be avoided entirely, while others may be safely used when formulated to the proper dilution and used under the guidance of a certified professional.
Elderly clients are also more susceptible to skin sensitivities, so a reduced dilution may also be warranted. It is best to consult with a trained aromatherapist, so a complete health history may be obtained and a blend can be formulated specifically for you; taking into consideration any personal medical conditions, prescriptions and any potential hazards or contraindications with the essential oils.
|Mild Adverse Reactions to Essential Oils|
|Skin reactions (redness, itching, burning & hives)|
|Mucous membrane irritation|
|Severe Adverse Reactions to Essential Oils|
|Esophageal damage (commonly associated with internal ingestion)|
By following the established essential oil safety guidelines, using essential oils only as needed and buying your essential oils from trustworthy sources, are a few ways you can improve your chances of benefiting from the use of essential oils without adverse reactions.